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Featherweights For those with just a few pounds, or trying to lose those last few pounds.

Newbie here...advice for a "featherweight" starting out?

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Old 04-06-2014, 04:27 AM   #1
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Default Newbie here...advice for a "featherweight" starting out?

Hello! A newbie here...I think this is the forum I want to be in!

I feel like I have QUITE a lot of weight to lose, but I suppose maybe not so much as some others, so "feather" it is! I think I weight about 150 pounds (actually haven't checked in a while) right now, at about 5'6" or so, and I'd like to lose at least 20, maybe 30. I'm not used to being this large or this heavy, so it feels like I really don't even know where to start!

I used to be rather thin as a teen and in my younger 20's, like around 110-115 pounds and easily extra smalls in clothes, and pretty obsessed with fitness and healthy eating... but after starting working full-time and forgetting about the gym, and getting more into going out to eat and cooking and such, the pounds just sort of piled on over time! So I don't expect with my current lifestyle that I'd be able to maintain being as thin as I used to be, and that's okay, because it's not quite the most important thing in the world to me like iit used to be, but I still feel uncomfortable as I am now. Yet, it's so hard to make changes!

I've half-heartedly tried dieting many times, just on my own, but I either get too into it and get frustrated that I don't drop weight very fast, feel disgusting and fat, and end up binge-ing...or else it just stops seeming so important in the moment, instant gratification and all that, and I just decide I'd rather have fun eating and worry about work and stuff instead, even though I regret it later.

Anyway, nice to "meet" you all too! I hope to find some good advice here and maybe support from others too!
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Old 04-06-2014, 08:49 AM   #2
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First of all, please try to avoid beating yourself up. Most people living in the U.S. and possibly the entire developed world (and then some) have weight management issues. Certainly the vast majority of people on this site have gone through the same issues, including dumping on ourselves (I know that I have!) but why should we dump on ourselves for being normal?

There are different ways to approach this. For lifestyle changes, you can try baby steps or cold turkey. Different approaches work for different people at different points in their lives.

Some people have great success with eating a variety of foods that they don't want to exclude from their diets and use calorie counting or IE or some other means to eat less overall. Other people find that eliminating certain trigger food, or reducing certain types of foods (like added sugars or starchy carbs or crunchy foods or savory snacks) helps them avoid losing control.

Check out the different boards for different approaches and find something you think might suit you. Good luck; I hope you find an approaches and strategies that work well for you!
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Old 04-06-2014, 09:11 AM   #3
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Welcome to the boards, jenjen!

I can relate to a lot of your post- in my teens and early twenties I was smaller (~120 lbs, I'm short with a medium build) and didn't struggle with my weight. Then came a new job, marriage, etc. I got sedentary and we ate out a lot, thus a slow gain of about 30 lbs. Like you, I've tried to lose weight here and there, but I either went overboard or gave up. Like you, I accept that as my life and body changes, I don't necessarily have to return to my lowest weight. Like you, I wasn't feeling comfortable in my own skin anymore.

Basically, you are not alone, jenjen. Us fluffy featherweights? WE ARE LEGION. You're in good company.

I've only been at this for a few months now (in a much healthier and realistic frame of mind) so I'm no weight loss guru. I agree with yoyoma that reading through this board will give you a ton of ideas. Best advice I can give you is to treat this like a grand experiment. Try something and see how you respond. If it doesn't work? Don't throw in the towel, you've simply learned something and can move on to the next trial. Find something that you feel like you can live with for the rest of your life and then stick to it. Patience and persistence will be a huge help because the weight doesn't seem to exactly fly off in this weight range like it does for the folks with more to lose. Good luck and I hope we'll be seeing you around some more!
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Old 04-06-2014, 10:23 AM   #4
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Thanks for responding, both of you! Very helpful advice.

It all feels very overwhelming... When I was younger, I somehow had this amazing motivation, plus a good dose of self-loathing, and beat myself up enough to make drastic changes and lose weight quickly. But now that I can't, and really don't WANT to do that, it's frustrating because it seems like results don't come fast enough.

It's actually good to hear from others on here that I'm not alone. I'm gigantic compared to much of the population where I live now, seems like I'm the only one struggling sometimes.
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Old 04-06-2014, 04:52 PM   #5
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The results definitely come slower and it's frustrating for sure. Going slow and making permanent changes beats doing crazy stuff to try and shed the pounds as quickly as possible though. It's too easy to exhaust yourself and then gain it all back plus some.

My sympathies on your predicament in Japan. I visited Tokyo in 2011 shortly after the tsunami when western tourists were scarce and weighed around 150. I was feeling a bit self-conscious about my weight as it was and there I was surrounded by tiny Japanese women. First time in my life that I was, hands down, the biggest girl (and often person) everywhere I went! Is shopping for clothing a challenge there?
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Old 04-06-2014, 05:44 PM   #6
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Jenjen - I think you are a bit younger than I am (almost 40) but I had the exact same stats as you. Maintained 120 and below easily until my mid-30s. Now I'm at a new high of 152.6 lbs.

I am struggling with many of the same things you mentioned. Personally I think that *any* diet plan you pick will work if you stick to it (well *most* diet plans at least). My number one problem for sure is that I read way too much but I don't make enough actual plans and I absolutely don't follow through on the plans I do make.

The two really general words of advice I have from a lot of experience:

1) Set aside time for researching/planning, but limit it - an afternoon, an hour/day, whatever. Pick a diet plan, figure out what you have to do to make it work (the hardest part is usually setting aside the *time* it takes to plan/shop/prep/cook) and GO! Pick some amount of time to evaluate if your chosen plan is working or not - a month or two is usually enough time to tell.

which leads to the place that advice came from:

2) Read and use the strategies in The Beck Diet Solution by Judith Beck - I bought the pink book on Amazon (I didn't find the green one as useful, but I had the advantage of checking both of them from the library first and comparing). It is the single most helpful resource I have found, and isn't tied to any specific diet plan. The only way I was able to lose 15-20 pounds, twice, was to follow her strategies. [My reasons for falling off the wagon TWICE need to be dealt with ]

Also, I was just reading something somewhere (never can remember my sources...) that noted that simply tracking what you eat leads to better choices and weight loss. It doesn't even have to be a calorie tracker - one study had participants photograph all the food they ate. I find I do MUCH better when keeping track of my consumption. Simply being conscious of choices helps a lot. I use FitDay (but only because I now have such a stockpile of my customized foods).

Good luck to you! Now that I have reached a new all-time high TODAY, I plan to be around here more.
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Old 04-06-2014, 05:58 PM   #7
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It sounds like a lot of your failure may be due to your psychological approach. Perhaps you should look into the beck diet solution thread and consider getting that book. I haven't read it myself but i do use psychological awareness and tools a lot on my current trip. I did it in the past too of course but this time its a deliberate part of my journey and method.

It is helpful that you list some of the reasons why you gave up in the past. I think i have experienced all those things too except for the disgusting and fat which is my trigger to start the process.

But if you are down, you need to work on getting yourself into a happier mental space. Soemtimes just starting a diet, being proactive can do this. I usually find it helps but if you are not ready, it seems to go pear shaped. I've had my share of false starts too.

Anyway for the method, here are a few ideas i follow and have learnt work

1. don't be in a hurry. Wanting what is not the case is causing you to fail. Be patient. Patience is important. You will be more successful if you can lose more slowly. Why?

- because you will be less hungry,
- because you will have more food choices and not become so dissatisfied with your food
- because you will be less hungry and more easily avoid triggers to binging
-because you can have more faith as you see that gradually its working.

So yearh be patient, and have faith in yourself and the process!

So i start with a plan to lose half a pound a week only. Get the calorie numbers from a calculator.

2. Don't rely on so much exercise to lose the weight for you. Make diet your main focus and just do a little exercise to help keep your muscles in good form. They say its 80% diet and 20% exercise.

3. Keep a food diary. This way you don't need to count calories everyday because you can start to see how much food is about your calorie count.

4. keep your meals reasonably close together through the active part of your day. If you are working you may need a morning and afternoon snack to get to you to your next meal. But try to make your meals bigger so that you don't get hungry so often. Don't buy packaged snacks. They should be as healthy as your food. Fruit, plenty of fruit is a good snack in the morning or afternoon I find. If you are prone to getting hungry on the way home from work, have something available to eat so that you don't run for junk food in desperation.

EAt lower calorie high fibre and nutrition foods mostly. Bit of protein at every meal. Make your meals tasty. Not skinless chicken and steamed broccoli, day after boring day. I include high calorie things to boost the flavour of my meals but in small quantities. a litre cheese or a few nuts and seeds into my meal.

That's all i've got time for right now. Good luck.
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Old 04-06-2014, 07:13 PM   #8
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LovesToTravel- It's not HARD to find clothes here yet (except shoes, apparently a size 9 is impossible!), but in pants and such I'm definitely a large, even extra large a lot of times! When I went suit shopping, I literally had to get the biggest size in the whole store. It would be much easier if I were the "average" size here.

EmmaD- Thanks for your suggestions! I think I remember seeing the Beck Solution book somewhere before. I'll see if I can't get my hands on a copy over here. I spent a lot of time browsing here yesterday, especially the success stories, so I think I've got some good ideas!

Pattience- Good ideas too. I like the one about not relying on exercise. It seems like a lot of people on the forum and internet in general do a LOT of exercise, but over here in Japan, it's really not as popular or accessible and I'm not sure into it, so it's good to hear that it's not the only way! Yeah, and keeping healthy snacks around the house, I need to do that. My downfall is grabbing chocolates and candy and cakes to eat while I work!

Thanks again, everyone, for all the support!! I was feeling a little depressed, to be honest, but you're all so helpful.
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Old 04-06-2014, 07:22 PM   #9
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chocolate and cakes and candy is my downfall - end of story. So i've quit them altogether. I know that sounds drastic. Its probably is drastic for people who are not so very overweight but i was just getting fatter and fatter as my periods of relying on those foods for all my energy needs got longer and more intense.

So i felt addicted to them. A lot of people feel this way. If and when that's the case, its a good idea to decide to quit them. Even if only for a certain period of time. Hoewver the danger then becomes when you are allowed to eat them again, you revert back to old ways and soon you are fat again. So the challenge is learning to eat them in moderation. I feel i can't. Lord knows i've tried.

So i'm quitting, though i have a couple of out clauses. Special circumstances. It took a while, even after quitting to actually come around to being confident that i want to do this forever. So when i say quit sweets, i don't expect people to jump to the same mindset as i have eventually arrived at immediately.

I'm just planting a useful idea. What you do with it is up to you.

Last edited by Pattience : 04-06-2014 at 07:23 PM.
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Old 04-06-2014, 07:50 PM   #10
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Thanks, Pattience. I don't think I could quit totally...too many opportunities to eat sweets when I'm with my husband and family, and plus I have the feeling that I don't have your willpower and would eventually break down and eat all of them, haha. But I do think it's a good idea to make some sort of rules about when I can and can't eat them.

I was checking around to see if there's any places where people are keeping like little journal threads on here, but I didn't see it. So I am just going to write out some things I found and thought about here...

I was really inspired by one particular post on the Success Stories, where someone lost over 100 pounds but she mentioned that she never totally gave up any foods or counted calories or anything like that...and that's good to hear. Being overseas as I am, I don't have access to the same diet plans, gyms, foods, etc. as a lot of people, so I'm going to try and figure out something that'll work for me! A personal Jen plan.

And I love making "plans," haha, so here's my ideas:

I read the idea to track measurements instead of weight, so I'm going to try and keep a record of every Monday morning's measurements of my "trouble spots." Today mine were 74 and 86 cm for my smallest waist and biggest stomach pooch, and 59 and 56.5 cm for my right and left thighs. Ideally I'd like to shoot for maybe 10 cm off of each of those? but we'll see.

I also like the idea of small changes, so I thought of some easy guidelines to make for myself, based on things I know are bad habits and could be good ones.

- Do some kind of exercise every day, be it the gym or taking a walk or doing stretches in the house, but it has to be something deliberate.

- Snack while working ONLY if I'm doing it outside of the house. Like I mentioned, when I think about it, I can go waaaay overboard if I sit in the house all day and eat chocolate, but when I go to a coffee shop or something, I never end up eating more than one or maybe two desserts in a day, probably because of the cost and the self-consciousness factor. This'll be a hard one to follow, but I'm gonna try!

- Rich desserts, fried foods, and noodles ONLY when it's my husband or someone else's suggestion. I don't want to be the party pooper who won't eat anything but grilled chicken, and I value my social life and eating out and enjoying all kinds of food (and goodness knows I LOVE Japanese food, including all the not so healthy choices!), but that doesn't mean that I can't make maybe some lower calorie choices when it's not inconvenient. And besides, when I eat with others, I won't go crazy and eat too much, like I can do when I'm eating alone.

I feel like I'm rambling, but I'm hoping that if I write this all down here it'll make me feel more accountable!
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Old 04-06-2014, 08:15 PM   #11
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No its good to write things like this. I agree with you. Yeah people don't keep personal diaries here on this site but i do. Its in my link below.

I think its ideal if you can do sweets immoderation. I have just learnt over time that i couldn't do it. I commend anyone who can.

Just for your interest sake, my out clauses are:

I can eat sweets in a restaurant with other people. And i can eat sweets if someone else offers it to me.

People do offer me sweets quite often but i only want to eat them if I think they are worth it gastronomically. I don't want to eat chocolate or bought lollies and stuff anymore. That's just me. But if its something special i want to be able to eat it and not miss out.

I figure a restaurant situation is a pretty safe situation. For me a cafe is not. And cafe food here is pretty poor quality anyway.

I haven't really resolved xmas but its a long way off. But i think i will try to stay away from sweets then as much as possible too and instead try to make really delicious savoury foods to the point of being more special than usual and allowing myself to eat my fill of those. They won't trigger a binge and losing my focus.

Anyway that's just my strategy.

I hope yours works for you.
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Old 04-07-2014, 07:00 PM   #12
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Thanks, Pattience, for all your help!

It all feels like such a long way off still, is the only thing...
Looking around this site, I feel like I should feel happy and easy that I ONLY want to lose like 20 or 30 pounds, because some people want to lose a lot more, but when I think that it's most usual to only lose a couple pounds a month, it seems like forever! But, I also don't want to do anything drastic and lose the weight more quickly just to rebound either... When I was younger, to "diet" I'd do a lot of very extreme diets with like a huge "cheat day," and that definitely got me results fast, but it also made me a little crazy, if I remember correctly.

I guess I've just got to keep my head on what I'm doing right now and making new habits and progress rather than focus on how far I have yet to go!
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Old 04-07-2014, 07:06 PM   #13
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Oh And also take some before pictures of yourself. Try to do one without too many clothes on and the others maybe with clothes when you are dressed ok. You don't need to show them to anyone or even to look at them very often but they are helpful for perspective.

When i look at my before pictures, i am shocked at how fat i looked and also at how different i looked now at 152 pounds!. And i didn't even take them right at the start. but at the end of the first month.
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Old 04-10-2014, 06:40 PM   #14
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Weight is 143.3 this morning. I went to the gym for the first time in forever yesterday. It felt good, I'd kind of forgotten!

I don't know how possible it is for me to lose 10 pounds a month like I'd like- I see other people doing it, but starting out heavier, and also who knows about rebounds sometimes- but my goal is to be at least in the 120's by my birthday in two months! I'm planning on rewarding my efforts with a trip to my favorite spa here. And yeah, on paper, it would be nice to weigh xxx, but the real thing I want to celebrate is just feeling more confident and happy with my body, regardless of the number on the scale!

I find myself getting more and more excited about this, but I also thought to add some rules of lines that I do NOT want to cross, based on my past experience:
- Not let dieting get in the way of having fun at social events and dinners.
- Be happy at getting smaller but don't let myself be disdainful toward how I look now, nor feel like I don't deserve to dress nicely or do certain activities or anything like that as I am now.
- Don't get obsessed with the number to the point that I do anything crazy.
- Don't get obsessed with completely cutting out any specific types of foods or eating at any specific times.
- Don't let going to the gym interfere with any other fun plans.

I want to be thin again, but I also want to keep the freedom and happiness I have enjoying food now- something I wasn't able to do in my younger teens and 20's! I have the rest of my life to diet, no need to hurry, and it's not like being heavier than I'd absolutely prefer is making my life miserable or anything!

I know from past experience that if I start dieting hating myself, I'll just keep hating myself. Getting smaller and thinner never ends in finally being happy, and I just keep wanting to be even THINNER and also being paranoid about gaining anything back, and basically just getting more and more obsessed.

And besides, if there's one thing I've learned about health from moving overseas and the population here, it's that people can be naturally VERY healthy and VERY skinny and still eat mostly carbs, eat very late at night, and not work out at all, all things I used to be very strict about with myself to the point of insanity, now I know for no reason!

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Old 04-11-2014, 08:31 AM   #15
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Sounds like you're on the right track! I think it's wise to try and keep weight loss from becoming a barrier to enjoying life. And congrats on the loss!
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